Description: This book describes how players, coaches, and teams can increase confidence and success (self-efficacy) in the sports in which they participate. It is based on decades of research, using Bandura's social cognitive theory as a guide to understanding self-efficacy and implementing interventions.
Purpose: According to the authors, "this book is a "go-to" reference on efficacy research. It will be of considerable value to those involved in or considering doing research in this area. It is also a 'must have' for scholar-practitioners interested in theoretically based and research-tested guidelines and recommendations for interventions."
Audience: The intended audience includes researchers and scholars-practitioners, as well as students. Dr. Feltz, professor and chair of the department of kinesiology at Michigan State University, has published extensively in the field and has spent more than 30 years studying self-efficacy and sport performance. Dr. Short is professor and chair of the Department of physical education, exercise science, and wellness at the University of North Dakota, and Dr. Sullivan is an associate professor in the department of physical education and kinesiology at Brock University in Ontario.
Features: The book begins with theoretical considerations, then moves on to a discussion of the nature of beliefs of athletes, coaches, and teams, and ends with techniques to establish and maintain efficacy beliefs. It uses Bandura's theory of efficacy (1977), rooted in social cognitive theory. The authors note that athletes define self-efficacy "as confidence and often attribute successful accomplishments to 'being confident' and unsuccessful performances to 'not having enough confidence' or to losing confidence." Self-referent beliefs make up the core agentic factor in the theory. Interesting features include an appendix with research references and an annotated bibliography with descriptions of research studies (73 pages), which represent over 30 years of research. Numerous figures/tables and case studies add clarity. However, the best parts are the techniques for enhancing efficacy for athletes, coaches, and teams, included in Part III. These ideas can be generalized to other types of performance coaching, applicable to those individuals in either the fine arts and/or dramatic arts. Obviously, anyone who suffers from social anxiety can benefit from these concepts as well.
Assessment: The benefits of this book reach well beyond just sports. The techniques are easy to learn and represent tools you will use throughout your career, presented by authors who have extensive experience in self-efficacy. I was reviewing this book during "March Madness" (the NCAA basketball tournament), which was a handy reminder of the importance of sports psychology, self-efficacy, and the need for athletes, coaches, and teams to perform at their highest level.